Two engineers held for Balco chimney collapse

Raipur, Feb 14 (IANS) Two engineers of a private construction firm were arrested Saturday for their alleged role in last year’s chimney collapse at the Bharat Aluminum Company Limited (Balco) power plant in which 40 people were killed, police said here.

The engineers – Sunil Singh and Alok Sharma – employed with Gannon Dunkerley and Company Limited (GDCL), were presented before a local court that sent them to judicial custody till Feb 24, a police official, Vivek Sharma, based at Korba town, some 240 km from here, where the chimney crumbled Sep 23, said.

With the arrest of the two engineers, the number of people held in the chimney crash has now gone up to nine. Earlier seven people were arrested in the case – three Chinese engineers Jan 11, three Balco officials Nov 17 including its vice president Viral Mehta, and GDCL project manager Manoj Sharma Oct 7.

Government officials say Vedanta Resources controlled Balco, in which the Indian government holds 49 percent stake, had awarded Chinese firm Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (Sepcc) the task of constructing two thermal power plants of 600 MW each at Korba.

Later, Sepcc outsourced the construction of a 257-metre chimney to GDCL. The power plant under-construction chimney had caved in when it had achieved the height of 225 metres.

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